Woman playing guitar, students singing.

Music Education—Vocal Major

A comprehensive degree designed for students who plan to achieve a vocal music teaching career in a public or private school.

This music education—vocal program meets the Minnesota Board of Teaching requirements for a license in vocal and classroom music education K–12. For students interested in instrumental education, Saint Mary’s offers the music education—instrumental major.

Career Options

A majority of our graduates pursue classroom teaching in public or private elementary, middle, or high schools. Others may go on to seek advanced degrees from Saint Mary's in special education, literacy, educational administration, curriculum and instruction, school counseling, or school psychology. It is also possible to pursue graduate studies in music areas not related to education.

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of a music education—vocal degree includes experience in Band or Orchestra, Choir, English, Italian, Literature, History, Music History, and Music Theory.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who earn a degree in the music education—vocal track will oftentimes pursue a minor or double major in history or music performance

Five-year B.A./M.A.

Contact the program director if you are interested in the five-year combined degree program with the M.A. in Instruction for licensure completion.

The five-year combined degree program delays School of Education courses until the fifth year, allowing the music student to focus on developing his/ her own personal musicianship and to complete the music education methods courses prior to enrolling in the M.A. in Instruction program.

Highly motivated students with strengths in both vocal and instrumental music may wish to complete a double (vocal and instrumental) licensure program. This is possible through either the B.A. or M.A. licensure program requirements.

Teaching Licensure

Teaching licensure requirements are subject to change; therefore, students considering teaching in this area should be in regular contact with an adviser in both the Music Department and the School of Education to become aware of any curricular updates that may be required by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Please be aware that meeting the requirements of both the music major and education requirements for licensure may take more than four years unless students enter the program with advanced placement or transfer credits, or elect summer study options.

Degree Requirements

Please Note:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I and MU131 Music Fundamentals II, or equivalent proficiency are prerequisites for MU160 Music Theory I. All students take an initial placement exam to determine theory proficiency.

A. Music Core:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I (1 cr.)

This course is designed to be an introduction to music reading and understanding. The fundamentals of pitch and rhythm are covered along with ear training and score reading in this computer-assisted course.

MU131 Music Fundamentals II (1 cr.)

This is a continuation of Music Fundamentals I.

MU150 Experiencing Music (3 cr.)

This course is designed to stimulate interest in and enjoyment of music from its beginnings through medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century styles, including various styles of non-Western music. This course is required for music majors and minors and is also a general education aesthetics content area course open to all students with an interest in music.

MU160 Music Theory I (3 cr.)

This course is designed for students interested in increasing their knowledge of the basic elements of music. Concepts covered include: keys, scales, simple and compound rhythms, intervals, triads, 7th chords, principles of voice leading, harmonic progression, cadences, phrases and periods.

MU165 Music Theory II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Music Theory I. Concepts covered are non-chord tones, use of triad inversions, secondary functions, modulation, binary and ternary forms, mode mixture.

MU170 Ear Training I (2 cr.)

The objective of this course is to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: identification of intervals, scales, triads, sight-singing and one voice melodic and rhythmic dictations.

MU175 Ear Training II (2 cr.)

This is a continuation of Ear Training I. The objective of this course is to continue to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: sight-singing, advanced one voice dictation, simple two voice dictation, identification of chord structures, error detection and simple harmonic dictation.

MU260 Music Theory III (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Music Theory II. Music Theory III, along with its predecessors, Music Theory I–II will enable the student to think critically about music of all periods and styles. Concepts to be covered will include: unconventional uses of augmented 6th chords, enharmonicism, altered dominants, sonata form, the breakdown of tonality, and post 20th century techniques including basic set theory, 12-tone composition and integral serialism.

MU270 Ear Training III (2 cr.)

This is a lab course and is a continuation of Ear Training II. The objective of this course is to continue to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: complex one voice dictation, two voice dictation, harmonic dictation and complex sight singing.

MU299 Sophomore Review (0 cr.)

A comprehensive review of transcripts, a portfolio of work, and a juried performance examination normally occurring during the second semester of the sophomore year. Required for all music majors in their fourth semester of study.

MU300 Introduction to Music Technology (2 cr.)

This lab course is intended to give students an overview of music technology by connecting today's hardware and software tools with the history of electronic music. Areas explored include Sound Synthesis, MIDI, Sequencing, Music Notation, Digital Audio Editing, and Computer Aided Music Instruction. The course is required for all music majors, but open to all students with an interest in music technology as an elective.

MU341 Music History I (3 cr.)

This course is a writing intensive study of music history covering ancient, medieval, renaissance, and baroque western art music. A basic understanding of the history of western civilization is expected.

MU342 Music History II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of MU341. It is a writing intensive study of music history continuing through the classical, romantic and contemporary periods.

MU382 Conducting (3 cr.)

This is an advanced course designed for students who plan to conduct instrumental and choral groups in private and public schools, churches, or communities.

MU383 Arranging (3 cr.)

This course presents a detailed study of the major instrument families and the human voice, and how to score and arrange for them.

B. Performance Studies:

Applied Lessons: minimum of seven semesters of private lessons taken for credit on a major instrument or voice.

Ensembles: minimum of seven semesters of participation in one or more vocal or instrumental ensembles.

C. Both of the following:

MU125 Keyboard Musicianship I (2 cr.)

This course is an introduction to the keyboard for music majors with limited keyboard background. Emphasis is on functional skills such as reading, transposing, harmonizing, improvising, and playing by ear; along with keyboard theory, technique, and repertoire. A grade of "C" or higher in both the final exam and course are required to fulfill the piano proficiency requirement.

MU126 Keyboard Musicianship II (2 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Keyboard Musicianship I with further development of keyboard skills focused on raising the level of technical proficiency and increasing the students' competence in keyboard improvisation, harmonization, sight reading, and scales. A grade of "C" or higher in both the final exam and course are required to fulfill the piano proficiency requirement.

D. Recital Requirement:

MU390 Junior (Half) Recital (1 cr.)

The half recital is required for Music Education majors and Music Performance majors as a preparation for senior recital.

E. Music education methods requirements:

MUED121 Foundations of Music Education (1 cr.)

This blended learning environment course is an introduction to teaching music as a career. Topics include: an introduction to teaching methodology, foundation and history of music education in America, an overview of various teaching settings and styles, and personal career development. Students will complete 6 hours of field experience observation in the music classroom in at least two different settings.

MUED240 Percussion Methods (2 cr.)

This course is designed to acquaint the music student with the materials, techniques and problems involved in the teaching, conducting and performance of the instrument. Course required for music education majors. This instrumental methods course is designed for music education majors and provides students with the performance skills, pedagogy and literature knowledge necessary for school music teachers. This course is offered in alternating semesters and is generally taken during the sophomore and junior years. Non-education music majors may enroll in this course as elective with permission of the instructor All methods courses receive 2.

MUED241 Brass Methods (2 cr.)

This course is designed to acquaint the music student with the materials, techniques and problems involved in the teaching, conducting and performance of the instrument. Course required for music education majors. This instrumental methods course is designed for music education majors and provides students with the performance skills, pedagogy and literature knowledge necessary for school music teachers. This course is offered in alternating semesters and is generally taken during the sophomore and junior years. Non-education music majors may enroll in this course as elective with permission of the instructor All methods courses receive 2.

MUED242 Woodwind Methods (2 cr.)

This course is designed to acquaint the music student with the materials, techniques and problems involved in the teaching, conducting and performance of the instrument. Course required for music education majors. This instrumental methods course is designed for music education majors and provides students with the performance skills, pedagogy and literature knowledge necessary for school music teachers. This course is offered in alternating semesters and is generally taken during the sophomore and junior years. Non-education music majors may enroll in this course as elective with permission of the instructor All methods courses receive 2.

MUED243 String Methods (2 cr.)

This course is designed to acquaint the music student with the materials, techniques and problems involved in the teaching, conducting and performance of the instrument. Course required for music education majors. This instrumental methods course is designed for music education majors and provides students with the performance skills, pedagogy and literature knowledge necessary for school music teachers. This course is offered in alternating semesters and is generally taken during the sophomore and junior years. Non-education music majors may enroll in this course as elective with permission of the instructor All methods courses receive 2.

MUED431 Classroom Music Education Methods PreK–5 (2 cr.)

The course introduces students to the current approached to classroom music with an emphasis on Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroze, and will include observation and internship experiences in music classrooms. The class integrates classroom technology skill development (SmartBoard or other interactive white boards, web-based resources, iPad applications, tec.) and requires eight hours of music classroom internship/observation in public or private schools and/or pre-school programs.

MUED432 Vocal Music Education Methods 6–12 (2 cr.)

This course focuses on teaching skills, diction, vocal tone and techniques, and curricular repertoire development necessary for successful middle and high school vocal teaching and ensemble directing. The Comprehensive Musicianship model and the Minnesota music standards, as well as the National music content standards will be examined. Technology appropriate to middle and upper level teaching is integrated into the course, including ear-training technology, iPads and SmartMusic. Eight hours of vocal rehearsal observation is required for the course.

MUED455 Current Issues in Music Education Seminar (2 cr.)

This course is taught in a blended format, with emphasis on the most recent developments and issues in the field of music education. Junior and senior music education majors, as well as the instructor, will research a series of relevant topics appropriate to licensure specialization and personal interest. Some recent topics have included: brain/ music research and implications for music education, music education advocacy, improvisation learning for non-jazz musicians, guitar curriculum development, incorporating folk and world music literature into the string curriculum, and musician's health and wellness.

F. Complete a minimum of one semester of dance

Including but not limited to ballet, tap, jazz or Irish dance (also counts toward PE general education requirement.)

G. The following vocal course:

MU374 Vocal Pedagogy (3 cr.)

This course is a survey of techniques and problems of voice instruction for individuals and vocal groups.

H. When possible

According to student schedule and credit load, courses that fit the student's specific career goals such as Advanced Conducting, Composition, Jazz History, etc.

I. Required School of Education course work

See Secondary Education webpage for information